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Friday, April 8, 2011

media violence

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Violence in the media has been popular since the beginning of television. Police shows and westerns have been entertaining us with gunfights and car chases since we were children. Now, because of the recent school shootings and other teen violence, the blame has been placed on television. Politicians like Bill Clinton and Al Gore have asked entertainment companies and television stations to tone the violence down. There is only so much that can be done though. The violence in many shows like wrestling and horror flicks have already been calmed down and pushed back to later hours, to keep smaller children from watching them. There is only so much that can be done, without totally stopping media violence. While many people have been asking for a change in the rating system, nothing is being done. One of the reasons for this is because the entertainment industry is large and very influential. Another reason is that even though there may be an abundance of numbers documenting the amount of violence children see but no one can tell whether it has a direct effect on them or not. Even though cases of children imitating wrestling moves have been documented, there is nothing showing that they intend to hurt the other person.


Most people simply watch the shows and understand that it is just entertainment. Even though some school shootings have been linked to the media, none of the shooters have ever said that they did it because of a movie, video games, or music. Also, there has never been a case where the defense uses a movie or television show as a defense.


Another possible reason for the media being linked to society’s violence is because of the way television is viewed these days. Back when society was more family-oriented, parents would sit down with their kids and watch TV. If there was something that was violent or that sent a negative message on parents could explain the difference between right and wrong, reality and make-believe. They could guide their children and tells them what is bad and what is good. Now with both parents working, and working later hours, kids are left home alone. Without any supervision, kids are able to watch anything they want. They may watch some violent shows without anyone there to monitor them. This is what is causing the recent trend of violence, not just the images in the media. With proper monitoring and teaching good interaction skills, kids could watch just about anything without becoming violent. Schools could also start programs that teach the difference


between TV violence and real violence for younger students.


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Many times, the students who become school shooters, are the ones that have problems. There has been evidence that the two shooters of Columbine were students that got made fun of and bullied on a daily basis by more popular students, just for being different (dailybeacon.utk.edu/ article.php/8). It is also the kids that suffer from physical, verbal, and sexual abuse that tend to grow up to be more violent.


It is believed that the media has many effects on younger viewers. There are four different effects of media violence Direct, Desensitization, Mean World Syndrome, and Catharsis(www.mediaknowall.com/violence.html). The direct effect is that watching a lot of violence in the media may cause children and adults to demonstrate more aggressive behavior themselves, or they may have more approving attitudes towards the use of violence to resolve conflicts.


Desensitization is when exposure to media violence may mean children in particular become less sensitive to violence occurring around them, and less sensitive to the pain and suffering that violence causes to others. They also have less sensitive views on “acceptable” levels of


violence in society, which means they are prepared to tolerate more.


The Mean World Syndrome is when watching large amounts of violence on TV may lead children and adults to believe that the real world contains this amount of pain and violence, and therefore they begin to view their environment as a mean and dangerous place. They may be more fearful of becoming a victim of violence.


Catharsis is a potentially positive effect, where exposure to media violence may result in reduce aggression in viewers.


There is kind-of a balance between the effects of violence in the media. With proper education in people skills and how to react in real-life situations, there can be little or no effect from the violence in the media.





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